Sunday, June 21, 2015

Scatter-brainedness and the "joys" of packing

This last week, I have taken scatter-brainedness to an entirely new level. I'm doing something when something else needs my attention. I leave the first thing and start the second, and then the third thing asks for me, and so on, and by the end of an hour, I'm left with ten unfinished tasks.

Last night, I'd set a reminder to do something at 6 45 am. I considered labelling the reminder, but I thought, hey how can I forget such an important job? This morning, 6 45, the reminder beeped and I had no idea what it was that I had to do. The precise time I had set indicated to me that it must be something that I needed to finish before my household help came in to sweep. I wasted some time hopping around wondering what it was, when I finally remembered it when doing something else, moments before the help came in.

My friend recommends making lists of everything. But I make lists, don't find them when I need them, and then spot them at the oddest places.

I can't BELIEVE I'm saying this, but I'm so tired of getting ready to leave that I just want to leave.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Translating from Hindi to English

Translation is something that many people in my family are experts at, translating freely between  English and Kannada and Hindi and English. My mother even has a Diploma in Translation, and translates from English to Kannada regularly. So, for me, it came about naturally too, I guess.

Last year, I translated a few articles dealing with Work in Education from Hindi into English for the Azim Premji University. T hey have been published in the March issue of their magazine, Learning Curve. It was a difficult job, but very educative and satisfying for me. I only wish they'd credited me for the translations.


Hairclip organizer

Hairclips are usually all over the place. It was like that for us, it is like that now for Puttachi. Whenever she is in a hurry, she never finds the second of a pair. Besides, she had outgrown many of them, as her hair became thicker as she grew older. So we put our heads together and came up with this:

We just took one side of an old cardboard file, covered it with cloth, stuck it to the cardboard with fabric glue, and then stuck ribbons to hold the clips.

Since I'm hardly an artsy craftsy person, I'm very proud of my handiwork :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Puttachi and Moving

The idea of relocating to another country has not been easy on Puttachi. She was all settled here. She loved her school and her teachers, had a good circle of friends both at school and in the apartment complex, and of course she has a lot of doting grandparents and aunts and uncles. And of course a house with loads of toys and books and a wooden platform swing on which she does the most heart-stopping acrobatics--you get the picture. All settled.

And suddenly we are sitting with her asking her about how she feels about moving, leaving all this behind and moving to an unknown place. She resisted a lot. There were tears. Tantrums (There still are). Then she accepted it. Now, with not many days to go, she is reconciled to it. Not excited, not enthusiastic, just reconciled.

One of the hardest things for Puttachi was to let go of her toys and dolls and books. But she took it well. Once we told her that she cannot carry all her things with her, she was very matter-of-fact about it. She made three piles of everything. One small, select pile of things she could take with her. One pile of things that she could leave behind, to be cared for by grandparents. And the third, very large pile of things that she had to give away. I left the decision to her, and I'm proud to say that she made her choices well.

At times, my heart broke when I saw her pick up a stuffed toy, gaze at it, hug it, say, "Bye-bye Manny" and put it in the giving-away pile.

We came up with a plan for the things she had to give away. Some of it, we gave away to children in need. For the rest of them, she invited her friends to come and have a look, and take books, dolls, games, toys, art-and-craft-supplies away. If they wished, they could drop some money into her donation box. Most of the things are gone, and her donation box is filling up. She wants to send all the collected money to Nepal (she was affected by the effects of the earthquake). If you know of a reliable organization through which we could donate to Nepal relief work, please let me know in the comments.

A friend who moved to the US told me that if we are excited, the children pick up on it and they become excited too. Though I do have some excitement lurking underneath all that apprehension, it doesn't make an appearance too often. So now I'm trying to draw it out and let Puttachi see it. I'm trying to portray the whole thing as an adventure (which it is!)

I do feel sorry for her. Poor children, having to tag along wherever their parents take them. And we parents, doing what we hope is the best for the child!

Let's see where it takes us!

Monday, June 15, 2015

In which Puttachi doesn't make me look very good.

I'm lying down in the afternoon, more for some quiet time than anything else. I hear Puttachi walking towards my room, and I close my eyes, pretending to be asleep.

She: Ammaaa! I know you are not asleep!
Me: (opening eyes) How did you know?
She: If you'd been really asleep, your mouth would have been slightly open!


I was telling Puttachi stories of my hostel-life.
She: I wish there were pictures.
Me: Oh there are. I'll show you.
She: (Doubtfully) You have photos?
Me: Yeah, why?...
She: Are they in black and white?
Me: Kid, just how old do you think I am?

Science Media Centre at IISc

A few months ago, I joined  The Science Media Centre at IISc as an intern. I've been doing some work for them, and it's been fun, challenging and educative. Here's a sample: SERIIUS: Leading the world into a solar-energy-based future.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Bangalore has been Home to me for as long as I remember, even when I lived away from the city studying or working for brief periods. In about two weeks, that's going to change temporarily. We're moving to the US for a while.

In the midst of ping-ponging emotionally and physically all over the place, I've been busy stuffing my face with goodies that I won't get easily there, and I've been savouring Bangalore's weather. I've also been spotted gazing wistfully at coconut trees, and so far, I've resisted recording the sound of the pitter-patter of the rain as it falls through the broad leaves of the majestic rubber tree just outside my bedroom window.


Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Articles in Brainwave Magazine

Brainwave is a pretty cool magazine for kids. The articles are fun, the layout catchy, and the illustrations are attractive. And oh, it is quite informative!

I have a piece on the history of the atom in the May issue which is about Atoms, and a piece on what aliens are probably made up of in the June issue, which is about, well, Aliens.

Pick up a copy - chances are that your child will like it.

Letters from home - or not

I was looking through some papers, intending to clear some of them, when I came across a file that contained papers and documents dating to my time in Mumbai.
I found my first appointment letter, promotion later, the documents which outlined how much salary I would get. I found a cringe-worthy resume running to four pages, written much before I worked as a resume writer. And then I found letters from home.
When I worked in Mumbai, my father regularly posted to my PG address, envelopes containing newspaper cuttings. The articles were usually about energy (in which I'd just finished my post-grad) or about mainframes(on which I was currently working) and about technical writing (which he thought was a viable career option for me).
I would get insanely excited when the post arrived, when I saw the large white envelope with my name and address written in my father's distinctive, confident handwriting (which mine has now started resembling.) I would tear open the envelope only to see a single newspaper cutting of a dry article. I called my father and told him that next time, could he at least include a personal note along with the newspaper cutting? You know, send the scent of home to his daughter in a strange land?
So the next time he sent me an envelope, he had written on the border of the newspaper article,"For your perusal. NRR." 
That was his idea of a personal note.  I called him up and said, "Papaaaaa I am not your colleague at work, I'm your daughter!"
So the next time, he attached a piece of paper along with the cutting, with "Shruthi, you might find this article interesting. Nagraj."
By the time I got him to write an informal letter to me, it was time for me to come back.
He has improved considerably now. Probably due to the fact that he hasn't actively been to a corporate workplace for a while now. His emails (no post any longer) are much more informal :)
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